It's not what you gather, but what you scatter, that tells what kind of a life you have lived.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Card Holder tutorial

It's time for another tutorial. I've been promising one and I finally got it done! It's something I've wanted to make for a few years now, but never got around to. I thought about it on and off, but I couldn't decide how I wanted to do the cover, and what I wanted the pages to look like, etc. etc. etc. Well, I came across an article from a magazine (I'm sorry, I don't know which one) from clear back in 2005 and they had used a photo album to make a card holder, and I thought, "That's it!" So now it's made and I'm going to show you how, too. The tutorial is kind of long but there are lots of pictures to make it better.

The first thing you need is the covers. You can use a photo album, if you want, or you can make your cover like I did. If you make it from scratch, you need 4 pieces of chipboard or 2 pieces of heavy mat board (for framing). Or you could go through your stash and find an already cut-to-size chipboard book, like I did! (It was fate!) You need to pick a nice sturdy paper to cover the covers :) and something nice for the inside covers. I don't recommend card stock for either. It doesn't make nice corners or bends. Just some nice, thick, sturdy paper.

You can see that the book boards I used had holes for a spiral binding, but I didn't want spiral binding, because I needed more room in the finished book so it would lay flat. Anyway, I took a piece of regular copy paper and cut strips and glued them over the edge with the holes, starting on one side and folding over to the other side. This won't look like it's going to be strong enough to keep the holes from breaking through, but when you glue the papers to both sides of the covers, it will be enough.
Cut your covers 8" tall and 8 1/2" wide. If you are using thinner chipboard, glue 2 pieces together for each cover. One layer of mat board will be thick enough. Then you need 4 pieces 8x1", 2 for each cover (8 pieces glued into four if using thin chipboard). Be very careful about your placement when you glue them to your cover papers. If you glue them carefully, you will have just enough room on the width of a 12"x 12" paper for all three pieces. You can see how in the picture below.
You need to use 3 little scraps to measure your gaps. Between the cover and the first strip, there should be 3 thicknesses' width. Between the two strips there should be 2 thicknesses' width. This will allow for the thickness of the papers when you fold the hinges and let the hinge pieces fold flat when the book is done. Smear one whole side of the cover with a permanent glue stick. I have used a lot of different glues, and have found glue sticks are the best. They don't make the paper bubble or stretch, because they have less moisture in them than liquid glues.

Press the cover onto the paper and rub really well over the whole surface to create a good bond. Trim the extra paper off and trim the corners. Don't cut the angle right next to the corner, but leave 1/8th inch of paper past the point. This will help cover the point without leaving the corner exposed.

Starting on the short edge at the hinge end, put glue on the paper edge, making sure to get the glue right up next to the cover. For this part, you can use craft glue or glue stick. Either is fine. My paper is really heavy and textured, so I thought craft glue would be better. Fold the paper up onto the cover and press to get a good bond.

This is the right side of the paper. Heavy with lots of texture.

Now do the two long sides. Be sure to put glue right into the corner so it will glue well and the corner will look nice. Using your thumb nails, push the paper over the corner, and then fold the paper up onto the sides, pressing for a good bond. Make sure to put glue into the spaces between the hinge pieces and the cover, then run your thumb nail in the groove so that these two layers of paper bond together, too. Last, do the front edge of the cover. Repeat for the other cover. You can use clothespins to hold the paper until it bonds if you need to. Especially on the corners.

You can see how the paper layers are glued to each other in the grooves between the pieces of book board. This is important.

Now you need to cut your inside cover sheets. Make them 1/8th to 1/4th inch small than the cover measures. Smear them with your glue stick and glue them to the cover, making sure to get glue in the grooves and running your nail along the groove again. This makes the hinge, and if you don't do this, your hinge will not work properly.

Normally, I would be almost through with the book covers, but do you see what I saw? I did something I NEVER do, and I paid for it! I used a beautiful handmade paper with rose petals in it, and the petals were coming off, so I decided to use decoupage medium to adhere the inside covers and put a coat over them to keep the rose petals in place. you see the horrible bubbles? That is why I never use craft glue (or decoupage medium) on the covers! I wound up ripping that paper all off.

Can I reuse all that scrap? I could use it to make more paper!
Then I had to sand them smooth.........

And do them again!

It turned out okay, and I actually like the new papers better, anyway. But learn from my mistakes, okay? Don't do what I did. Now it's time top make the pages.

Choose the papers you want to use for your pages. It needs to be cardstock, and you can have them all the same color, or a different color for each month. As you can see, I chose the latter. Each page needs to be 8 1/2" x 12". You also need a 7"x 6" rectangle to decorate each page.You need to score the pages 4" from the bottom, so they will fold nicely. You can remove your cutting blade from your paper cutter and run your bone folder along the groove for the blade to make the score.

Then use your bone folder to crease the fold.

Next, glue your decorative paper to each page all the way to the right hand side, 1/4th inch from the top and the side. It will look really lopsided, but remember that at least 1" on the left will be hidden in the hinge. Fasten each pocket on the right side with eyelets, rivets, brads, safety pins......whatever you like.

The February page has heart brads. The other two have eyelets.

April has lavender brads, May has big flower eyelets and June has curly paper clips.

July has navy blue safety pins, August has moving fasteners, and September has another curly paper clip.

October will have pumpkin brads, November has a different type of fastener, and December has metallic eyelets.

The pocket edges do not have to be glued. The eyelets, etc. will hold the outside edge and the cover will hold the other edge. The only two I glued the outside edge on were the two with the curly paper clips. I didn't think they would hold very well with cards in the pockets. I added a few embellishments, but not many, because when the pockets are full of cards, they won't show. Then I printed up some rectangles with lines to write the birthdays and anniversaries on, stamped the months and inked the edges, then glued them on.

Next, you have to punch the holes. I used my crop-a-dial, but you could use any hole punch that you hit with a hammer, like those with eyelet setters. Punch the first holes in the spine of the cover, which is the strip in the middle, between the cover and the outside strip. Punch several inches in from the top and bottom and centered on the strip. Use these holes to mark your pages, then punch them, too. I didn't want my pages to be too wobbly when the book was put together, you know when there is not enough paper on the posts and they wiggle around. So I made page spacers.

I used some plastic chopping mats I got at the Dollar Store. I cut them into 1" x 8" strips, and punched them in the same places as the cover and pages. You need 11 of them. Now take your album posts and unscrew them and put them in the holes in the back cover. Place the December page, then a spacer, then the November page and a spacer, and so on until all the pages are in. Put the front cover on and screw the top onto the post.

The plastic is clear so you can't see it, only the spaces it makes between the pages.

The flap folds over and covers the posts.
Now you just have to decorate the cover. Most people would probably do that before putting the book together, but I like to see it all together and flip pages for a while, study the whole thing, and then decide on how I want to decorate it. Here is the finished product.

I know it was long, but I hope you understood all of it and I hope I didn't leave anything out. If you have any questions, or just don't get something, let me know. Leave a comment or send me an email. I hope you like it and will try one for yourself or for a gift. Enjoy!

Whew! That's it until Friday Friends. I'm worn out! And remember, if opportunity doesn't knock, build a door! Until Friday,


  1. Wow that is so cool! I loved looking at all your pictures and descriptions. I made a small coaster size book to write birthdays in that reminds me of this a lot. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Rhonda :)

  2. This is just simple and easy to make it.. i might need it when use the design for plastic cards.


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